The German government has approved Poland’s request to export five Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine that originally came from Berlin’s stockpile.
Poland and Slovakia have already delivered some MiG-29s to Ukraine, making them the first NATO countries to provide Kyiv with fighter jets, an escalation of military support that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz previously warned against.
“There will be no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine,” Scholz said in January. He also warned against “entering into a constant competition to outbid each other when it comes to weapons systems” that are being sent to Ukraine.
While the MiG-29s are not the Western-made aircraft Kyiv has been demanding, the provision still marks a significant escalation of NATO military support.
In March 2022, when Poland first offered its MiG-29s to Ukraine, the Pentagon ruled it out over escalation concerns. NATO diplomats said at the time that Moscow could perceive the move as the alliance directly entering the war.
Polish pressure also led to Scholz approving the export of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine and Berlin sending its own. In September 2022, when expressing his opposition to sending tanks and planes to Kyiv, Scholz said he was supporting Ukraine “in a way that is not escalating to where it is becoming a war between Russia and NATO because this would be a catastrophe.”